2006 Lambert Bridge Winery Ranch Petite Sirah

Nothing Petite About This Sirah

I feel like I know petite sirah. I served petite sirah at my wedding (America’s first petite sirah, actually. Concannon. Though, not the first petite sirah. We couldn’t get our hands on the 1961 vintage). I’ve had quite a bit of the stuff, and while it’s never been my absolute favorite (once merlot, then pinot noir, now a distinction held by Barolo’s nebbiolo grape) it’s always been something I enjoyed.

And again I find, just when I think I’ve got something figured out, life farts in my soup bowl and says, “Nuh-uh.”

Not that that’s the visual I want to associate with the wine in this review. Far from it. The Lambert Bridge petite sirah is something special, and something very interesting. But boy, is it different from (for instance) the way they do it down Livermore way.

First off, the place is spectacular. Seriously, if you ever find yourself partially lost on West Dry Creek Road, just south of Lambert Bridge Road (with its perilously narrow namesake) you need to check these guys out.

On a side note (as if I don’t get parenthetically sidetracked enough) Andy, part owner of Lambert Bridge and the man who poured us our tastes, is a fellow alumnus, with yours truly, of San Ramon Valley High School in Danville, CA. Small world, indeed.

If you do show up, say “hi” to Bernie for me.

So then, the wine? I’m on a kick these days of dark, dark wines. This one isn’t what I’d call black, but more of a “dark ruby” at the core, with a bit of lightening to a still-brilliant red on the edges. The nose is clean, without any overpowering alcoholic heat, and features notes of black cherry, raspberry truffle, and cinnamon.

This petite sirah is full-bodied, complex, and subtle in most of its notes. What you will find here includes more similarities to the nose: ripe, rich fruit notes coupling nicely with espresso and dark chocolate, with hints of cinnamon (perhaps nutmeg?) flitting about. Lots of structure here, with supple, lush tannins that I would love to see get even softer and more velvety.

Great drinking now, and great drinking in 10 years, I’d wager.

Verdict: 91/100

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